Johnston Blakeley Creighton Papers

1829-1925, undated
Manuscript Collection #694
Creighton, Johnston Blakeley, 1822-1883
Physical description
0.4 Cubic Feet, 295 items
Preferred Citation
Johnston Blakeley Creighton Papers (#694), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Correspondence (1868-1869), written from Japan by fellow U.S. naval officers Samuel P. Carter and Earl English.

Biographical/historical information

Johnston Blakeley Creighton (1822-1883) was born November 12, 1822 in Rhode Island. Creighton married Elizabeth W. Stringham around 1855, while serving as an officer in the United States Navy. Stringham was the daughter of Silas Horton Stringham, a rear admiral in the United States Navy.

Creighton entered the Navy as a midshipman on February 10, 1838, and later became a lieutenant on October 9, 1853. He was formerly commissioned as commander during The Civil War, on September 20, 1862. During this year Creighton commanded the steamer OTTAWA, part of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. In 1863, he was assigned to special duty and served as 4 (?) commander of the steamer MAHASKA, also part of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. During this period, the squadron was engaged in the bombardment of Forts Wagner and Gregg in South Carolina during August 1863. Creighton was transferred next to the MINGO (in the same squadron) and served as its commander until the end of the war.

On November 26, 1868 Creighton was commissioned as captain, and on November 9, 1874 as commodore. He became commandant of the Norfolk Navy Yard in 1879. During his naval career, Creighton also served on the USS CUMBERLAND, USS NORTH CAROLINA, USS ONEIDA, USS WORCESTER and USS GUERRIER. He died in Morristown, NJ on November 13, 1883, and is buried at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn Kings County, New York, Plot: Section 92, Lot 439. At the time of his death, Creighton was retired as a rear-admiral.

Scope and arrangement

The earliest correspondence in the papers is a few letters to newspaper editors from Commodore W. Creighton. It is unknown whether this person is related to Johnston Blakeley Creighton. It is only obvious that the date of 1829 makes it too early for it to be from Creighton himself. Much of the 1850s and undated correspondence is of a personal nature, many of which are sent from Brooklyn, NY. Included are letters between Creighton (who is serving on the USS CUMBERLAND), his wife and various relatives and friends. Some names mentioned are Edwina "Winnie" Creighton, "Emma", Susie Fisher and Amanda Waller. The latest correspondence present (1920s) is also of a personal nature, and most are sent to Sarah T. Creighton (also referred to as Mrs. J.B. Creighton) of New York City.

The remainder of the correspondence is largely of an official nature. Among these are letters between Creighton (while serving on the USS NORTH CAROLINA, USS WARRENTON, USS GUERRIER and USS WORCESTER) and Samuel Currey, William G. Marcy, Commander Samuel P. Carter (of the USS MONOCACY), S. P. Bucklin and various other naval officers. Communication between Creighton and governmental departments include the U.S. Navy Department and the U.S. Navy Department's Bureau of Navigation. Topics of discussion found in these letters include recruitment and the court-martials of George Hudson and W. J. Hogan.

Of particular interest are approximately thirty-six letters documenting a period of surveillance of the island of Japan. These letters all date from 1868, several years after Commodore Matthew Perry's famed expedition that opened up Japan to trade and study. This correspondence offers a unique outsider's observation of this location and time. All of the letters are addressed to Creighton, some from Commander Samuel P. Carter, commander of the USS MONOCACY, stationed in Yokohama and Hyogo. The remaining letters came from Commander Earl English, commander of the USS IROQUOIS, which was traveling between Osaka, Yokohama, Hyogo and Nagasaki. This general description was taken from a typescript summary that was included with the letters at the time of their purchase. This summary can be found with the letters and offers a more detailed explanation.

There are several types of documents to be found in the Printed Materials series. Among the notes are a few miscellaneous lists and a protocol list for ships stopping at various ports in Portugal and Spain for naval tours. Publications include several pamphlets by the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York, as well as a booklet printed by the U.S. Navy in 1870 entitled Regulations: Mess and State Room Furniture, upon which "For the Equipment Officer of the USS GUERRIER?." is written. Reports document interrogation by Creighton of Commander Thomas Holdup Stevens, as well as navigation and coal expenditures of the USS ONEIDA. All receipts involve transactions made by Creighton. Minutes document various property concerns in Bronx, NY. Poetry includes three separate poems written by an unknown individual. One is titled "Capt Porter", and the other two are untitled. One of the untitled poems has "Twenty first St. New York, Feb. 14, 1853" written at the end.

Administrative information
Custodial History

May 22, 1995, 36 items; Correspondence (1868-1869), written from Japan by fellow U.S. naval officers Samuel P. Carter and Earl English. Purchased. Donor: Courtesy of Friends of the ECU Library.

November 3, 1999, 295 items, (unprocessed addition 1), Papers (1829-1876, 1920-1925) of U.S. Naval officer, including correspondence, navigation notes, reports, and miscellany. Purchased. Donor: Courtesy of The Sara S. Batten Special Collections Endowment Fund.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Friends of the ECU Library

Gift of The Sara S. Batten Special Collections Endowment Fund

Processing information

Processed by Allan Kearney, April 27, 2006

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Key terms
Personal Names
Carter, Samuel Powhatan, 1819-1891--Correspondence
Creighton, Johnston Blakeley, 1822-1883
English, Earl--Correspondence
Corporate Names
United States. Navy Department
United States. Navy Department. Bureau of Navigation
United States. Navy--Officers--Correspondence
Courts-martial and courts of inquiry--United States
Japan--Description and travel
United States--Foreign relations--Japan
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Naval operations

Container list
Box 1 Folder a Correspondence, 1829
Box 1 Folder b Correspondence, 1851-1857
Box 1 Folder c Correspondence, 1860-1867
Box 1 Folder e Correspondence, 1869, 1872
Box 1 Folder f Correspondence, 1872-1873
Box 1 Folder g Correspondence, 1873-1878
Box 1 Folder h Correspondence, 1902-1925
Box 1 Folder i Correspondence, undated
Box 1 Folder j Notes, undated
Box 1 Folder k Publications, 1865-1925
Box 1 Folder l Navigation and Coal Expenditure Reports, 1867-1870
Box 1 Folder m Interrogation Reports, 1864
Box 1 Folder n Minutes, 1924
Box 1 Folder o Receipts, 1865, 1870
Box 1 Folder p Poetry, 1853, undated